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Steve B's Fender American Standard Strat

Steve received this guitar from his very generous and patient wife for Christmas a few months ago, and has been excitedly playing it since. He does not like the hum, however, of single-coil pickups, and decided that it needed to be upgraded. He also wanted the neck slimmer. While we're at it, why not make it look great as well?

We started out with a fairly radical Gemini Shredder Neck treatment, making this American Standard neck as fast as an Ibanez Wizard (only faster!), then finished with tung oil, leaving it satin-finished and very comfortable. Steve wanted to totally black out the body, so he got a 1-ply thick black pickguard, matching backplate, and then black pickups and speed knobs.

For pickups we chose the Seymour Duncan "Everything Axe" set, which consist of a JB Jr. in the bridge, Duckbucker in the middle, and Little '59 in the neck, all single-coil sized. Instead of push/pull pots for switching, we used "push/push", which basically operate like manual switches on a VCR or DVD player: push it once, and the knobs pops up; push it again and it stays down. This eliminates the problems with trying to pull up on a knob on the fly, and either missing it, or pulling the knob completely off when you are too exuberant.

Rather than the stock Strat tone control setup, where you can only set the tone on two of the pickups, I wired it so that one pot controls the bridge tone, and the other controls neck & mid simultaneously. The bottom tone pot is a push/push to split the coils on the neck & bridge, and the middle tone pot is to switch on the bridge pickup in any position on the 5-way. The 5-way is wired to operate normally.

Steve likes it. That's all I have to say about that.


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